Monday, June 8, 2015

Love or Hate, Kevin McClory Has a Place in Bond History…Day 159 of Bond 365

Whittingham, Peter O'Toole, Bobo Sigrist, McClory in 1963 (from 007 Magazine)
Kevin McClory
Born this day in 1926
Original Story, Producer and ‘Man Smoking at Nassau Casino’ in Thunderball
Original Story and Producer for Never Say Never Again

Kevin McClory has an interesting, albeit controversial position within the Bond alums. It’s a long and twisted story in which McClory and screenwriter Jack Whittingham worked with Ian Fleming to develop an adaptation for the screen. Fleming, who had been looking to elevate James Bond to the small or big screen was probably initially ecstatic to have a producer and screenwriter taking interest in his dream. I imagine that Fleming may have thought that he and Bond were finally going to make it big. However, on the way to market, perhaps Fleming realized he gave away the farm so to speak and had seller’s remorse. Whatever the case, a legal battle ensued and McClory won the film rights to Thunderball, as per Fleming and McClory’s agreement.

Because of the court case, the franchise was unable to incorporate Spectre into their storylines until recently. The franchise now has the rights to the use of the secret villainous organization and it should be fascinating to see how it is thread back into the Bond story with Spectre later this year.

If you want to read more about the controversy, there is a copyright section of Thunderball here and Robert Sellers wrote about the case in The Battle for Bond (2007, Tomahawk Press Publishers).  I am fascinated by the case and have yet to really study all of the intricacies of the events that unfolded, as well as how they impacted the franchise. While it is impossible to say how events could have turned out otherwise, McClory's and Whittingham do have a place in Bond history as they were part of the creative force for bringing to life Thunderball and Never Say Never Again

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